Brentford midfielder Christian Norgaard believes his side’s play-off final disappointment last year will serve them well this time round as they bid to end 74 years of hurt with a return to the top tier of English football. 

The 1946/47 season was the last time the Bees enjoyed competition at the top level of the club game, and they came agonisingly close to a first Premier League appearance last year as two extra-time Joe Bryan goals saw Fulham edge them 2-1 in the Championship play-off final. 

Defeats at the end of the regular season then cost Brentford an automatic promotion spot, and a series of draws has done the same this season – with Thomas Frank’s side now once again having the play-offs standing between them and the Premier League. 

But, this time, the club believe things are different and that they can use last season’s hurt to guide them up. 

“When it comes to play-off games, and in particular big games, you are talking about very small margins,” Norgaard said. 

“It is an easy reason to give that people didn’t sleep well or were nervous [last season], which might have been the case for some players, but we did really well in the two games against Swansea City. 

“We played a fantastic home game and went into the final where we conceded a goal in the hundred and something minute.  

“They were very small margins that could have turned to our advantage last year. They didn’t but I think the knowledge and experience we had last year will help us this time.” 

It has been another campaign of difficulty at times for both the Bees, who have let automatic promotion slip through their fingers, and Norgaard, who has spent months on the sidelines with injury. 

But, they have found form at just the right time with four wins on the spin to end the season and Norgaard believes Frank’s men are buzzing going into the season finale. 

“I can only talk from our behalf and I think that we have built up momentum that will give us a certain confidence going into the play-off games,” he added. 

“The mentality in this group is very strong and even a hard defeat like last season couldn’t shake us that much. It was just a new beginning with a short holiday in between.  

“What has been most impressive this season is that, for a majority of the season, some of our key players from last season have been out with injuries, including myself.  

“The players who have stepped in, like Vitaly Janelt, Ivan Toney, and young players like Mads Bech [Sorensen], have been amazing this season. We have to give big credit to them for stepping in whenever it’s been needed.” 

Sixth-placed Bournemouth, who were relegated from the Premier League last year, present the first obstacle for Brentford in the two-legged semi-finals. 

And Norgaard is under no illusions of the quality they possess and the challenge they will present.  

“We are facing a very good team; a team that has been in the Premier League for many years,” Norgaard said. 

“We know that we need to be on our A-game to get a good result here. They have players who are made for the big games but we are confident, not just from beating Bournemouth, but from a really good run recently.”